Reunited with His Runaway Bride
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As she stared at his back, the memory of the last time they’d stood here together pinched her heart. She’d been so angry, so hurt, so confused, she’d yanked off the engagement ring he’d given her and thrown it right at him. The blinding, midday sunshine had caught the diamond, sending a prism of sharp white light searing across both of them just before the ring bounced off his muscular chest, pinged along the concrete and dived right off the side of the building.
At that moment, she hadn’t cared. Later? She’d felt a deep regret at losing that beautiful ring, and what it had meant. Or what she’d thought it meant. She wouldn’t admit it to a living soul, but for days after she’d searched the streets below, finding nothing but bits of asphalt and leaves and trash until she’d finally given up.
Probably, though, it was all symbolic. That ring had disappeared along with the future she’d thought she and Sean would have together.
She willed her feet to move toward him, reminding herself she wasn’t here to dredge up and rehash the past. Her goal was to be Sean’s friend tonight. To be a sympathetic ear after an unbelievably horrible day and uncertain future for Emma, not to mention the future of the baby who just might still lose his mother.
She moved to within a few inches of Sean’s side and gripped the railing, feeling the warmth of his arm near hers. Took in the scene in front of them, thinking about the disconnect of it all. How peaceful and tranquil it seemed compared to the churning going on inside her and doubtless Sean, too. To the life-and-death battles going on that very minute inside the hospital.
He didn’t move, didn’t speak, and she wondered if maybe he just wanted to be alone. But after looking for him the past hour, she was going to offer comfort if it killed her. Then leave if it wasn’t welcome.
“How are you doing?” she asked.
Okay… She drew the cool breeze into her lungs and tried again. “What do you think about Emma’s prognosis?”
“Your guess is as good as mine. Liver laceration’s been repaired, ruptured spleen removed. C-section’s closed. Chest tube’s not draining any more blood, so they’ve removed it. Broken arm’s been put back together, and her broken ribs are going to hurt like crazy, but I imagine she’ll barely notice, considering everything else.”
He didn’t have to say the situation could still get worse fast. Why wouldn’t he look at her so she could see his expression? His tone was flat and emotionless, giving away nothing. It reminded her too much of the way he’d sounded after she’d told him it was over between them.
“Baby seems healthy, at least,” she said, forging on. “Remarkable, really.”
“Did Emma tell you what she’d decided to name him?”
Not a surprise, really, since Sean had made his dismay over Emma’s life choices very clear, and she’d distanced herself from him the past months because of it.
“She’d decided on Wilson—your mother’s maiden name. She laughed about it, saying his uncle Sean would think it was a weird first name, but she plans to call him Will. I think Will Latham has a nice sound to it, don’t you?”
“Mom will like that.”
At least he’d answered in more than a monosyllable, but he still didn’t turn to look at her. Guess there hadn’t been much point in her coming after all.
“That moment in the ER when we thought we’d lost Emma. That was…” She stopped, because she couldn’t come up with a word even close to how it had felt. She knew how much he loved his sister, and pressed her hand to his warm back as she had earlier, thinking maybe that connection would help him let go and share. “That must have been incredibly hard for you.”
“Hard?” He suddenly swung to her, and the surprise of it had her taking a step back. He grasped her arms and pulled her flat against him, practically knocking her breath from her lungs. The dark eyes staring down into hers were again fierce, anguished, his features taut granite. “Damn it, Bree. You were in that car with her. It could have been you, too. You lying there dead on that table. I could have lost all three of you at once, in one second. Might never have seen my nephew, might never have been able to give my sister grief about her choices or her life again. Might never have been able to see your beautiful face and feel so mad at you I could barely keep from going ballistic. So angry that you left me I wanted to punch something.”
His voice cracked on some of the words before his arms wrapped tightly around her and his mouth came down hard on hers.
Bree curled her fingers into his scrub shirt and let herself feel every emotion in his kiss. The fear, the anguish. The frustration and anger and pain. Everything she’d felt, too, from the second she’d been able to focus enough to look across her car console. To see the mangled door pressing in on Emma. Everything she’d felt in the emergency room as everyone desperately worked to keep Emma alive. To deliver Will alive.
Everything she’d felt when they’d broken off the relationship that had seemed so foolishly perfect. Today’s intense emotions were confusingly tangled up with Sean and their past. From their instantaneous attraction and passion to the final argument six months ago, and that anger and frustration and pain had been nearly as unbearable as today’s.
Sean was holding her body so close against his, she wasn’t sure where he ended and she began, but his kiss began to change. It felt less about all those consuming emotions, and more about a deep relief mingling with the simple and profound connection they used to have. Softening into a tenderness that flipped Bree’s aching heart inside out, reminding her with excruciating clarity how good it had been between them. How delicious and wonderful and like nothing she’d ever experienced before.
“Bree.” His mouth barely separated from hers enough to whisper the word. “Bree.”
His fingers slipped into her hair, gently holding the back of her head as his lips caressed hers again so sweetly now, so leisurely, it weakened her knees and made her heart thud in slow, heavy strokes as the kiss changed again. Still sweet, still tender, but deeper now, stealing every molecule of breath from her lungs. Shaking, she slid her hands up his chest to cup the sides of his strong neck, to feel the warmth of his skin.
How could she survive without this?
Excerpt From: Robin Gianna. “Reunited with His Runaway Bride.”